The 10 Commandments of Getting Content Marketing Buy-In Every Time

by Marcus Sheridan


I’ll admit it—I’m on a content marketing buy-in kick.

But you can’t blame me, really. The #1 email I get here at The Sales Lion comes from wildly frustrated and often depressed (no, not kidding) marketers who are trying to get management and employees to buy-in to this thing we all call content marketing.

Furthermore, I have reached the conclusion that NOTHING GREAT HAPPENS IN THIS SPACE WITHOUT BUY-IN. (yes, I was yelling there, just in case you couldn’t hear what I was saying ;-) ) And if I may brag for just a minute, in the last 3 years I’ve experienced a LOT of success getting buy-in with organizations of all sizes, from the CEO to the summer intern to embrace content marketing and establish a culture therein.

So in today’s post, I want to sum up all I’ve learned and give a simple list I’ve heretofore dubbed  “The 10 Commandments of Getting Content Marketing Buy In.” Here goes:

The 10 Commandments of Getting Content Marketing Buy In

1. Thou shalt not use the phrase “Content Marketing”  when discussing this with your team and management): Instead, start using words like listening, communicating, teaching and helping. If you do this, your staff and team might start to care and actually see the “big picture” as to what this is really all about. You may think this is silly semantics, but think again.

2. Thou shalt never say the word “blog” or “blogging” again: No one on earth has ever developed a relationship with the word blog. Again—listen, teach, communicate, help. Besides, at this point in 2014, a blog (in terms of a definition) is just a way of formatting educational articles on a website. (At least, that *should* be the case.)

3. Thou shalt eliminate as many marketing acronyms from your language as possible:  For example, don’t teach your staff to be better at “SEO”—it’s about producing content so that people will find you when they search online. Explain things without jargon in a way that anyone and everyone can nod in affirmation is key here and the quality of the best teachers in any space.

4. Thou shalt hire a content marketing manager: This needn’t be difficult folks, as the world is full of recent journalist graduates thirsting to use their skills. Assuming they have the ability to write, edit, interview, and do video—they just may be an exceptional candidate for your content marketing manager and the leader of this campaign going forward.

5. Thou shalt have a content marketing workshop with your entire team: This is simply too important to skip or overlook, especially when trying to help those persons in a sales department buy-in. This meeting should answer 3 essential questions regarding content marketing: What it is, How to do it, and Why it’s so very important to be a part of it.

6. Thou shalt help the sales department understand how great content, when used properly, is the best sales tool in the world: Not only that, but it will make their jobs much easier while giving them more time to spend on qualified leads and better quality of life. Who wouldn’t want those benefits?

7. Thou shalt embrace “Insourcing”: Utilize your existing employees for content production and you’ll likely get better content and results. Furthermore, if they’re helping to produce the content, they’re going to take more pride and ownership in said content. This is critical.

8. Thou shalt identify the best means through which each employee can help: Remember, not everyone communicates the same way. Are they a writer, actor, talker, or questioner as taught in this article?

9. Thou shalt make employee participation required and part of their job description: Successful content marketing isn’t utopia people. It’s like anything else in the workplace—a duty that is critical to success. Read this article about 5 B2B companies crushing it with content marketing to learn more.

10. Thou shalt keep your employees informed of successes, victories, and other news:  Whether it’s ongoing trainings, updates, email newsletters, etc. – the content marketing manager needs to keep the rest of the team up to date on the score of the game.

So there you have it folks– 10 tips that will clearly make a BIG difference when trying to get content marketing buy-in from your company’s management and employees. Tell me, what else would you add to the list? Also, if you’re looking for assistance to make this a reality with your company, contact us at The Sales Lion today.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Pontus July 15, 2014 at 9:12 am

Great Marcus, as always. Do you have any tips or articles on how to achieve #6: “Thou shalt help the sales department understand how great content, when used properly, is the best sales tool in the world”?


Marcus Sheridan July 17, 2014 at 12:15 am

Yes, absolutely Pontus. Google “Assignment Selling” and you’ll read all about it!!

Thanks for dropping in!



Jeremy Abel July 15, 2014 at 9:21 am

Hey Marcus,

Getting buy-in for inbound/content marketing is hands-down the most valuable skill a modern-day marketer can have aside from actually being able to implement (or at least orchestrate) the strategy.

While this is really a summation of your 10 points, I’d also add the importance of taking the buyer/customer perspective into account, and how their decision making process is being influenced by technology (e.g. how do most shoppers find information today; how do they evaluate businesses; at what point do they contact businesses- hint: it’s usually after they’ve done information gathering online). Provide a survey to gauge customer interest, or find the renegade who’s already implemented a beta program- to make change happen, it only needs to start with one.

For all the companies that say “we’re focused on the customer,” it’s usually the few whose actions reflect that statement (by making the buying process easier) that happen to be the best at inbound/content marketing.

Great stuff, Marcus- keep it up brother.



Marcus Sheridan July 17, 2014 at 12:14 am

Great points Jeremy, and you’re right—Employees need to clearly see how prospects and they, themselves, shop and buy in the digital age. If they can see it from that point of view, and then realize their customers are no different in their approach, then magic just may happen :)

Always love you stopping by my man,



Kevin Carney July 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Very good points! Sometimes common sense DOES need to be restated. Thank you.


Marcus Sheridan July 17, 2014 at 12:11 am

Appreciate that Kevin ;-)


Amy Dunn Moscoso July 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Hi Marcus,

Great post. I enjoy the way you demystify “content marketing” and turn it into a very no-nonsense process that everyone can take up.

I’d also add in “Though shalt not promote thyself or thy company” but instead focus on solving common customer problems and offering really useful content that they really need, can read easily and put to use right away.



Marcus Sheridan July 17, 2014 at 12:10 am

Thanks for the kind words Amy, that’s always the goal!

And nice suggestion too!!



Vincent July 15, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Two things pop in my head when I read the list. But before I go there, I’ll say this, nice list and useful share.

OK, I’ve been around the block quite a bit as it relates to sales. This list is a sales enablement list, to help people sell content marketing internally. Right?

Most important and critical step in just about ANY sales cycle is the “problem/cause” analysis. Get in touch with the problems keeping your company from achieving it’s goals, and the causes. Then align content marketing as a way to mitigate the causes.

The second thing that needs to be addressed is people’s innate fear of anything creative, because of the desire to avoid uncertainty.

If you start with a problem cause, then define how to solve the problem, you then have to take almost ALL of the uncertainty OUT of the discussion.

One more thing I would focus on.

Work hard at making the choice be managements, not YOU persuading them. Not easy to do, but there are methodologies that help.


Marcus Sheridan July 17, 2014 at 12:10 am

Yep, good points all around Vince. Good seeing you bud!



Miguel Roberg July 15, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Great post, I think # 9 employee participation is one of the most important parts of a successful Content Marketing Buy In strategy. Also, getting away from the terms “blog” in a professional setting is important; I think too many people think “16 year old girls talking about make-up or their love life”, when you say blog.
Great list of things to think about thanks for the post.


Marcus Sheridan July 17, 2014 at 12:09 am

Glad you liked it Miguel, best to you sir! :)



Michael July 16, 2014 at 10:24 am

I guess my question is – how do you hire a content marketer but they can’t speak to what they do best, “content marketing.” Most of what they say will be content marketing-related and require use of that term. Interesting article, though.


Marcus Sheridan July 17, 2014 at 12:07 am

Mike, I do certainly understand your question, yes, but I can tell you from experience that I teach “content marketing” workshops all the time but will often never use the phrase at all—not because it’s “bad” per se, it’s just that for non-marketers, the whole key to getting buy-in is that they can completely related to what you’re talking about.

Hope that makes sense!



Kommer July 17, 2014 at 4:19 am

An interesting look at the issue. I always said That promotion should be addition is something, not the main action. For example, from my forum promotion trick. The Point Is That whe should help users who ask the question in the topic. Their answer questions and problems. All done in such a way That the user may think, “Boy, if this guy gives me so good advice for free, what he can offer me if I’ll pay for his products or services”


Christian Newman July 18, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Amen, Marcus!

One big key here is that the Content Marketing Manager isn’t the guy or gal who does it all – not even close.

They act more like the “Producer” by creating the content plan and gathering the resources, and “Director” by coordinating the talent (employees, customers, etc) that make the story come to life in a meaningful and helpful way.



PaulJosaph July 19, 2014 at 4:01 am

Nice article, These commandment are really interesting. Thanks for sharing with us.


Chris Marr July 20, 2014 at 9:27 am

Hey Marcus,

Another great helpful, useful and educational article!

It all makes a lot of sense, but still a lot of people miss the boat on the basics.

I’ve got a few marketing workshops coming up shortly and the biggest lesson for me, to improve what I do, is to loosen up my language a little and be more descriptive and remove the jargon.

Thanks Marcus and have a wonderful Sunday.



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